GRA gives manufacturers one week ultimatum: Fix tax stamp or… …face the law

Mr Kofi Nti (behind microphone) briefing the media

Mr Kofi Nti (behind microphone) briefing the media

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has given a week ultimatum to all manufacturers, importers and retailers to affix tax stamps on their products or face the full rigours of the law.

Issuing a final warning in Accra yesterday, the Authority signalled a full scale nationwide enforcement and compliance of the policy, beginning Monday, October 1, 2018.

Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti speaking to journalists yesterday in Accra stressed that the compliance exercise would see the “complete detention, seizure and imposition of the required 300 per cent (GH¢36,000) penalty of duties and taxes on culprits”.

“I wish to reiterate that the days of impunity about non-compliance with the tax laws are completely over. All sanctions enshrined in the law on failure to comply with the affixing of the excise tax stamp will be applied to the latter,” he warned.

The Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873), which came into force in January this year at the ports while that of the point of sale started in March, faced stiff opposition as businesses complained of high cost of fixing machines which could add additional cost to their operations and in turn affect the ordinary consumer.

Trade unions such as the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), the National Association of Sachet and Packaged Water Producers, believed the processes of the policy implementation would lead to price hikes in final products sold to consumers thereby increase untold hardship in the country.

However, justifying the decision to fully enforce the law, the Commissioner General said, the GRA had resolved challenges relating to cost of affixing machines for business owners, tax reliefs for complying companies among other issues that slowed down the full enforcement of the policy.

“We have held extensive engagements with key stakeholders and they no longer have any excuse not to affix the stamps. Our posturing now is full enforcement of the policy not only to rake in the needed revenue for the country but to guarantee the health and safety of consumers,” he maintained.

Mr. Nti however did not rule out possible adjustments to the policy where necessary to ensure a level playing field for all businesses.

“I therefore appeal to the public particularly manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers to operate within the requirements of the law and to the larger and consuming public, the catch phrase should be no tax stamp, no purchase of any product,” he urged.

The tax stamps aims at controlling the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue purposes while checking illicit trading, smuggling and counterfeiting of excisable products and under-declaration of goods.

The digitally designed stamps with security features are expected to be affixed on specified excisable goods in Ghana whether locally manufactured or imported to show that the necessary taxes and duties had been paid on them.

Goods on which the excise stamp must be affixed unto includes tobacco products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including spirits whether bottled, canned or packaged, bottled water and any other excisable product that may be prescribed by the Minister of Finance.

By Abigail Annoh and Abeduwaa Lucy Appiah                  

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